Herts Hawks leave Redhawks blue

The Herts Hawks had a stand in manager for the day, their young catcher Hunter Devine, but the change did not disrupt their continuing unbeaten run.

The Hawks went charging out of the blocks in their AA-league game at home against the Brighton Redhawks, scoring 14 runs before the first inning was over. They went through the line-up twice.

Winning Hawks pitcher and manager

Devine ended the day 4-4 with the bat, while Gilberto Medina’s 3 hits drove in 5 runs. He came close to two more home runs (to add to one from the previous week), but hit the top of the fence both times.

The pitching win went to Ernie Ayala. It’s his second of the year, in his second start.

Hawks won 20-4 in five innings. They have now won 23 games in a row. Their next opponent is the East London Latin Boys, who have an unbeaten 7-0 record and lead the AA-league.

Continued offensive fireworks for Moises Velazquez of the Herts Falcons in the National Baseball League (NBL) gave them a great start away to the Brighton Jets.

His 2-run home run helped Herts lead 3-2 until the bottom of the fourth inning. But then young pitcher Tyler Badenhorst, who had been turning in a great performance, lost some of his control and the Jets pounced.

They piled up runs, including a walk-off grand slam homer, and won 15-4. Brighton also won the second game 15-5.

The Falcons showed off some impressive defense, with catches in centre-field from Jamie Warren and John Blose. But overall they were left rueing too many defensive errors.

The Herts Raptors were facing a tough challenge at home to the powerful London Musketeers in Single-A but they, too, took an early 3-2 lead.

Tom Carson at bat

Again, a grand slam home run turned things upside down and the visitors surged out to a 9-3 lead in the third inning.

But Herts fought back. Good defense prevented hits turning into runs. Shortstop Rob Jones made a diving stop to haul in a hit up the middle and secure an out, while rookie first baseman Will Pettitt made a superb sliding catch in foul ground.

The offense was powered by Tom Carson, driving in 6 runs with 6 hits. Ken Pike, playing his first game since an emergency appendectomy barely a fortnight ago, went 4-for-4 with the bat and stole 6 bases.

Herts took the lead in the bottom of the sixth, 15-13.

But another London homer struck the decisive blow in the next frame and although the Raptors rallied they ultimately went down 29-22.

Stand-in manager for the day Rob Jones was impressed: “The guys can take a lot of pride in that game. Scoring 22 runs against two excellent pitchers is brilliant work, and they gave everything in the field as well.”

Raptors are now 2-2 on the season and after a week off will travel to the Kent Mariners.